Let’s talk about Pixar.
We all know who they are. In Disney’s darkest time, they rose up from the ashes, and produced the only truly good movies under the banner of Uncle Walt during the early 2000s, (The Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo & Stitch notwithstanding).
Pixar, helmed by their fearless leader John Lasseter, enthralled audiences worldwide with their engaging characters and original stories, becoming critical and Oscar darlings. (Not so much recently, I might add…) Despite Lasseter’s later executive actions, (American Dog/Bolt hint hint), he was the man behind the magic. It was he that transformed the company into a classic generating machine.
However, when you look at the entire Pixar canon objectively, a noticeable pattern starts to emerge. Many of these films follow a very similar formula, so much so that once you notice it, it starts to feel a bit gimmicky. This formula is as follows; Character A meets/is friends with Character B. A and B have very different personalities and their comedic chemistry is quite enduring. Then situation A happens and Characters A and B must try to resolve situation A in a heartwarming tale of buddy-buddy friendship. Character A can be a toy cowboy, a rat who likes to cook, a talking racecar, or an elderly man. Situation A can be searching for a missing fish-child, trying to return a child to the human world, or trying to pose as the world’s greatest chef. The Pixar formula is basically a buddy comedy. Different variations exist here and there, but almost every Pixar film follows this formula.
There are a few notable films that break the formula, such as The Incredibles, Brave, and the subject of today’s review, WALL-E.